Staying Active in the Great Outdoors

Fun ways to exercise on your next camping vacation
Published June 9, 2022

Going camping this summer and worried you might have to put your exercise routine on hold? Don’t fret! A camping trip is full of opportunities to stay active while enjoying the great outdoors.

First of all, the basic activities you have to do on a camping trip are basically built-in workouts.

“Pitching a tent requires use of your arms, legs and core muscles,” explains Steve Hruby, doctor of chiropractic at Kaizen Progressive Health. “Gathering wood for a fire requires use of your arms and legs. These activities also require balance and coordination.”

Secondly, there are tons of outdoor activities you can do while you’re on vacation that will help you rack up those activity points, enjoy nature and feel great. Think fishing, paddleboarding and more. Check out these activities and pick a few you’d like to do on your next camping trip.


Muscle groups used: upper body, lower body, core

“Hiking is a great way to stay active outdoors in the summer,” says Hruby. “It’s a low-impact activity that gets you out in nature and helps improve your cardiovascular fitness. Hiking also uses a variety of muscle groups, including your legs, core and upper body.”


Muscle groups used: upper body, core

Canoeing is “a great workout for your arms and shoulders, and it also engages your core muscles,” Hruby says.

Rollerblading/roller skating

Muscle groups used: quads, hamstrings, core, glutes, abductors, and arms

Roller skating is a great cross-training exercise, says John Gardner, a NASM-certified personal trainer and the CEO and co-founder of Kickoff.

“Roller skating can be considered as beneficial as a jogging exercise and can help you burn the same amount of calories,” he says, adding that it also helps strengthen muscles, improves posture and serves as a good form of cardio.


Muscle groups used: full body, depending on the stroke

The specific muscle groups you’ll use depend on the stroke you do, but Gardner says swimming will most likely utilize your abs, quads, hamstrings, glutes, arms, shoulders and back muscles.

“Swimming is an excellent form of aerobic activity that helps in generating the benefits of physical activity while still being easy on the joints,” Gardner explains. “It can help promote weight loss, build muscle, prevent injuries and relieve back pain.”

Rock climbing

Muscle groups used: full body

“Rock climbing is a great activity where you can plan with your friends to go away for a weekend to somewhere specific, or even find a rock climbing space in your area,” Gardner says, adding that it’s challenging and particularly fun because there’s a goal to work toward – reaching the top.

“The climbing movement activates your hands, forearms, biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, neck, abs, glutes, hamstrings, quads and even calf muscles, making it an extremely efficient and effective workout.”


Muscle groups used: upper body, core

“One of my favourite workouts to do when the weather gets warmer is to go kayaking,” says Matthew Scarfo, NASM-certified personal trainer and contributor at Lift Vault.

“This is a great way to see more of the world around you and relax on the open water. Being on the water also gives you a way to beat the heat, since waterfront spaces are often cooler than parks or city streets. Kayaking is primarily upper-body focused, with a lot of shoulder and lat engagement. You also get a great ab workout by keeping yourself and the boat stable while paddling.”